Thousands of Canadian-authored kids and YA books


Jon Paul Fiorentino's Red Letter Day


Red Letter Day is a new 49th Shelf series where Canadian authors tell me about a dream day where all pleasures are possible, thanks to a combination of extraordinary talent and mad cash.

Today that day is envisioned by Jon Paul Fiorentino, author, most recently, of I'm Not Scared of You or Anything (Anvil Press), his second collection of short fiction.

Here is the premise: It’s been a good year. Things are looking up. You’ve sold your book, some lucrative foreign rights, and won a few prizes. AND it’s your birthday. It’s time to treat yourself. For once, money is no object. It’s time to go live a little.

And so ...


GM: You walk (or fly!) to your favourite bookstore (JPF: McNally Robinson in Winnipeg) and browse the shelves for three books you’ve been meaning to buy. What are they?


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The Interruption: Sean Cranbury Interviews Nancy Lee


Welcome to The Interruption, a 49th Shelf–Books on the Radio collaboration in which I interview Canadian writers about the surprising things that inform, inspire, and even interrupt their creative process.

Today, I chat with Nancy Lee, author of the new novel, The Age. Of The Age, Annabel Lyon says:

"Nancy Lee has created a world of contradictions for our times: thoughtful terrorists, naive cynics, children as parents, girls who dream as boys. In sharply poetic prose, she delineates a world of gorgeous horrors and eerie loves.”

Nancy Lee lived her early years in England before immigrating to Canada. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She has taught at the Simon Fraser University Writing and Publishing Program, and is the former Associate Director of the Booming Ground Writers Community.

Lee’s first book of fiction, Dead Girls, was named Book of the Year by NOW Magazine, and was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Her work has appeared in numerous literar …

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Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way

Book Cover Buffy Sainte-Marie It's My Way

Blair Stonechild is author of Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way, the newly released authorized biography.

Kerry Clare: As a writer, what compelled you to take on Buffy Sainte-Marie as your subject? Of the many dimensions of her talent and story, which interested you the most?

Blair Stonechild: I recall Buffy as a huge inspiration during my university days in the early 1970s. She has had a nearly 50 year career and is known and loved world wide. When I realized she didn’t have a substantial biography, I decided to approach her. I wanted her inspirational story to be fully known. One of the main things I learned is how natural and broad her talent and creativity is and how she triumphed over adversity. She provides a great example to many Aboriginal and other youth who feel desperate about their situation that determination and drive can get you somewhere.  

KC: Your previous books were about Canadian First Nations history and educational policy. It seems a big leap from those books to a celebrity biography. But what are the connections between your new book and the other two? What were you able to bring to a biography of Buffy Sainte-Marie that the average biographer couldn’t have offered?

BS: Because Buffy has roots in and links to the First Nations community, my i …

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In Conversation With: Liz Strange on crime fiction and developing her protagonist over a series

Author Liz Strange.

Liz Strange was born and raised in Kingston, Ontario, where she still resides. She is a massive horror fan, vampire enthusiast and self-confessed sci-fi nerd. Mythology and historical mysteries have long enthralled her, and you will often find them touched upon in her works. You can find out more about Liz at

Liz's novel Missing Daughter, Shattered Family has just been shortlisted for an Independent Literary Award, recommended and voted on by independent literary bloggers.

Julie Wilson: Your previous novels have been in the horror/vampire genre. Why the jump to crime fiction?

Liz Strange: I have always been a big fan of mysteries and crime fiction, right back to my childhood days of reading the Three Investigators series. I enjoy the works of authors like Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Michael Slade, Karen Slaughter and many others. I had a story idea that I kept coming back to so I just decided to give it a try.

I like playing with the idea that monsters aren’t just stories, or figments of people’s imagination, but that they walk among us every day. People are capable of doing some truly terrible things to other humans, and I wanted to explore that in the novel. This also weaves its way into my protagonist's personal life as well; it was a m …

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Jessica Westhead on Ottawa's Octopus Books

Jessica Westhead's latest book is the story collection And Also Sharks, and she is also author of the novel Pulpy & Midge. In her Canadian Bookshelf guest post, she celebrates Ottawa's Octopus Books and Lisa Greaves, the woman at its helm.

I first met Lisa Greaves in fall 2007, on a Coach House book tour stop at the Plan 99 Reading series at the Manx in Ottawa. After I read from my then-new first novel, Pulpy & Midge, a grinning blonde woman made my night by telling me how much she’d enjoyed the excerpt. She introduced herself and said she owned a bookstore in town, and would I like to read there some time? I said I’d love to.

Photo of Lisa Greaves, Octopus Books

Lisa Greaves, Octopus Books owner-of-amazingness

We hatched a plan for me to visit Octopus Books that spring, along with local author and Octo-pal Jennifer Whiteford. On Wednesday, March 19, 2008, embraced by crammed, colourful bookshelves and a small but very friendly crowd, Jennifer read from her awesome young adult novel grrrl, and I read from Pulpy. Then we launched into an impromptu Q&A session and animated literary gabfest, fuelled by Lisa’s wine and her giddy enthusiasm for both of our books.

I saw Lisa and Jennifer again at Octopus Books’ 40th birthday celebration the following year. That’s right—this independent book …

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